Bloomin’ is an innovative arts programme developed by NHS Dudley Stop Smoking (In Pregnancy) Service and the arts team from Creative Health CIC to reduce smoking during pregnancy in Dudley.

The project took a creative social marketing approach to a problem which costs the NHS up to an estimated £60 million a year in treating resulting problems.

Dudley Stop Smoking in Pregnancy Service has an excellent track record of keeping women engaged once they have accessed the service. Bloomin’ concentrated on getting pregnant women to the point where they wanted the help and support that the service provides.

The project used a multi-layered creative approach to facilitate the conversation about smoking and to fully understand what underlying issues kept a woman smoking during pregnancy. Women were invited to take part in creative workshops, were targetted through a stand-up comedy routine at their local social club, offered relaxing massage and talked to in their own homes about their feelings towards their pregnancy and smoking. Young mothers in particular were targetted as they are the most reluctant group to give up smoking when they become pregnant. Artists involved in the project were Janice Connolly (actress), Ming de Nasty (photographer), Ruth Swallow (visual artist) and Twelve20 (graphic design).

Bloomin’ found that many of the women involved in the project were failing to make the connection between smoking and the effect on their unborn baby and also that many women wanted advice from women who shared their experiences rather than medical professionals. Bloomin’ also discovered that everyone from health professionals to a smoking woman’s family think that encouraging a woman to be smokefree in pregnancy is someone else’s job. Bloomin’ aimed to challenge this perception and to give everyone involved in a pregnant woman’s life a role to play.

Bloomin’ gained a true insight from women who smoked during their pregnancy and used these findings to produce an accessible and useful magazine featuring information and guidance for a healthy pregnancy with a special focus on women trying to give up smoking.

Artist(s): Janice Connolly (actress), Ming de Nasty (photographer), Ruth Swallow (visual artist) and Twelve20 (graphic design)

Download a copy of the Bloomin’ Case Study Report.

Download the final Bloomin’ healthy pregancy magazine.

Download a copy of the Bloomin’ poster.